Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Story Vault

By Audrey Fraizer

Three is certainly a crowd, but once the numbers get past there, what do you call it?

In the case of Matt and Emily Kulaga, you can call it a relief.

Matt Kulaga was outside talking to the neighbors, the Joneses, on Nov. 7 before leaving for work when Emily Kulaga made it known from inside their house that she needed help immediately.

Since the Kulaga’s second child was due anytime, the reason for her urgency quickly sprang to mind.

Matt Kulaga’s call to 9-1-1 came in at 7:52 a.m. Neighbor Brad Jones assisted with the delivery.

“The neighbor gave Matt the instructions, and the delivery went really well,” said Amanda Dolchanty, a public safety dispatcher in training for the Harford County Emergency Operation Center/Dept. of Emergency Services, Forest Hill, Md.

Dolchanty handled the at-home baby delivery experience with less than a month on the floor calltaking under the guidance of Christina Abrams, public safety dispatcher III, who has been with Harford for eight years.

Abrams, listening in on the call, took over after Dolchanty had gathered Case Entry information. Abrams provided the Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) to the neighbor (the person on the phone relaying instructions to Matt Kulaga).

With a cry, Aubree Mae Kulaga announced her arrival at 7:59 a.m. This was Abram’s first childbirth—baby on the way—call that made it through delivery before the arrival of the ambulance. She gave the call high marks all around.

“No issues,” Abrams said. “The caller was great. The baby was healthy. Everything turned out well.”

Dolchanty’s “newness” to the center doesn’t mean that she’s new to this sort of emergency. She was an advanced EMT for the City of Baltimore Fire Department prior to switching over to 9-1-1 emergency dispatch and still volunteers as an EMT for a local fire department. She’s had a fair share of fast-arriving babies during her seven years on an ambulance.

A big difference Dolchanty hadn’t quite anticipated in her new role separates EMS provided on the street from services given inside the center, Dolchanty said. Hands on the keyboard, going through ProQA isn’t nearly the same as hands on the patient. The same goes for keeping callers calm from a distance.

“As a provider, we know exactly what we’re supposed to do on scene,” Dolchanty said. “As a dispatcher, you’re telling someone else on scene what to do. That takes getting used to. It’s much more complicated than I expected.”

One week later, Dolchanty and Abrams experienced a second first, although this time they weren’t taken by surprise. By Harford Department of Emergency Services invitation, Aubree made a guest appearance at the agency’s EOC accompanied by mom, dad, and neighbors.

While Aubree slept, mom gushed with appreciation.

“Our family is forever grateful, and we have a perfect little girl as proof of their outstanding work,” Emily Kulaga said.